My top three sitcoms

A ranking of sitcoms from a serial binge-watcher

Ella Freeman

More stories from Ella Freeman

Across the Pond
April 28, 2024
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Photo by NBC

I am a serial binge-watcher and can get through a six-to-eight-season show in a matter of weeks.

One of my guilty pleasures in life is cheesy sitcoms. I have always enjoyed throwing on NBC or ABC and watching the weekly low-stakes episode. 

I am currently making my way through “Modern Family” and thought this would be a perfect opportunity to talk about my favorite sitcoms. 

I am a serial binge-watcher and can get through a six-to-eight-season show in a matter of weeks. I have also seen almost all of the extremely popular sitcoms, along with lesser-known and poorly executed ones. 

Now that you have my credentials, here are my top three binge-able sitcoms, from three to one. 

Abbott Elementary

This is one of the best newer sitcoms I have seen. While it only just finished season two, I can see this sitcom joining ranks with its predecessors and running for many years. 

“Abbott Elementary” follows the lives of staff at an underfunded elementary school, with bubbly 2nd-grade teacher Jannine as the protagonist. 

This show takes on the mockumentary style we have seen with shows like “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation.” This particular style is hard to do well. You have to be able to convince the audience to ignore the camera crew for most of the show. 

“Abbott” does a great job at incorporating things like looking at the camera during scenes and confessionals without overusing them. 

They are setting up some great dynamics like the one between Ava, the careless and a bit selfish principal, and Janine. These two do not immediately get along, but they become friends in a strange but heartwarming way. 

This show has some real potential and I am hoping the creators continue to deliver quality TV. Sometimes after a few seasons, sitcoms fall victim to repetition and overused jokes. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for season three. 

New Girl

When thinking of perfectly crafted and well-defined characters, “New Girl” immediately comes to mind. In my opinion, “New Girl” has crafted one of the most perfect character dynamics on television. 

They manage to have specific characters who all have extremely well-defined personalities, but they don’t overuse any bits or jokes. They were able to keep these dynamics funny for all seven seasons. 

This show follows Jess, who just moved into a loft with three guys after getting cheated on.

All of the guys bring something new to the table and I love seeing all of them interact. They don’t just stick to the same groups for the A and B plot every episode —  they mix it up in a nice way so you don’t feel like one character is more important than another. 

“New Girl” also has one of my favorite on-screen romances ever. Nick and Jess are the perfect couple. The dynamic causes some hilarious and also sweet moments in seasons one and two before they ultimately get together in season three. 

They break up later in the season, but the feeling never really leaves for either of them. They trade off being in love with each other until eventually they share a kiss during the season six finale, and get married in season seven. 

They are the blueprint for a friends-to-lovers trope. 

Community 

Drumroll for the best sitcom TV has ever made… “Community.” There is something so special about this show. In my opinion, it’s so different from all of the other shows on this list because it’s not as grounded in reality. 

“Community” follows the lives of seven community college students who form a Spanish study group, but it is so much more than that. The dynamic of the group is hilarious because they all come from such different lives, and all have their own very specific reasons for being there. 

I admire how this show doesn’t have a main character. It divides its time evenly by seven members, while still allowing for iconic second and even third-tier characters. 

It’s characters like Magnitude, who goes around saying “Pop-Pop” and cheering everyone up, and Garrett, who is always doing something strange in the background, that make this show. This group is not isolated in their environment, like some sitcoms. 

This show builds upon itself in a way I haven’t seen before. It sets up its cliches and formula in season one and then continually makes fun of itself and breaks its formula for the remaining five seasons. 

They have episodes that are mockumentary style, along with movie parodies, and dystopian, or comically dark episodes. 

“Community” also has extremely cool foreshadowing and running gags that you wouldn’t notice unless you have watched the show more than once. One bit that perfectly outlines this is the “Beetlejuice” bit. 

In season one, episode 16, Slater says the word “Beetlejuice,” for the first time it is said in the show. The next “Beetlejuice” is said in season two, episode eight when Britta comments on Jeff’s Beetlejuice underwear. 

The final time it is said in season three, episode five, Annie says “Beetlejuice” and you see someone dressed as Beetlejuice walk in the background. 

It’s bits and running gags like these that keep me rewatching. I could talk about “Community” forever and that’s why it’s at the top of my sitcom ranking. 

Freeman can be reached at [email protected]